Locking Up

Reply

  #1  
Old 02-17-13, 05:22 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 19
Locking Up

So, I have a basic 20 amp circuit running to my shed that I put in about 1 year ago. It runs a few floodlights, indoor lights, rope lighting, fans, audio rack for outdoor speakers, little intex pump, and various items. For the indoor/outdoor lighting and fans, I have a bank of basic light switches (total of 6 switches). Basic covers and boxes like these. http://image.shutterstock.com/displa...k-95589970.jpg

I've been having a lot of neighborhood parties, maybe about 8 a year, and with parties, come the neighbors and the kids (about 15 of them). Well, beside for locking the shed itself (since I have games and a couch in there), I can't keep people and the kids from playing with the switches. Either messing up the outlet that the projector plugs into for movies, cycling the pool pump, or shutting off the lights as a joke.

I need some sort of locking cover or solution for the switches. Do they sell some kind of box or cover that can handle up to six switches and locks? The shed is unfinished, and the solution needs to be under $30...... :| Someone in Home Depot said to install a small cheap sub panel with a locking cover, just for switching........but with a sub panel, would I have to install a ground rod? Even for a basic 20 amp circuit? It wouldn't make sense.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 02-17-13, 05:42 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,678
They make tamper resitant switches for commercial use that require a special tool to turn off and on. It's like a switch with no toggle and the tool is inserted in place of the usual toggle to turn it on and off.

Example: Amazon.com: Leviton KEYED Tamper Resistant Brown Locking Industrial Light Switch Single Pole 15A 1101-2L: Home Improvement

Or you could get a locking cover for thermostats.
 
  #3  
Old 02-18-13, 06:26 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,064
They have switch guards at most hardware/big box stores that covers the switch with a piece of metal/plastic. Some of them get screwed on using the cover plate screws and can't be turned on/off without unscrewing. Others are just a shield as a 'suggestion' to not touch, but can be easily switched if needed.

Looking for photos, I ran across this:
Master Lock Universal Wall Switch Lockout: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

Another option which would require some rewiring would be to separate the switches. Place the lights and such near the door and move the others that people shouldn't be touching to a less visible place, maybe covered by a (locking?) cabinet door or something.
 
  #4  
Old 02-18-13, 06:54 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 11,991
I think something like this is what Zorfdt was talking about: Amazon.com: Amertac-Westek White Switch Guard CSG1: Home Improvement
 
  #5  
Old 02-18-13, 06:58 PM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
Perhaps this would work better for about half the price?
Amazon.com: National Mfg. 280842 Switch Lock: Home Improvement
 
  #6  
Old 02-19-13, 09:07 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 19
Okay, so after spending an hour on the phone with a company trying to order 6 keyed 20 amp light switches, in the end, it failed. They gave me a run around about shipping, and then raised the price to $18 each due to the fact that I'm not a commercial business or electrician >

I saw some past suggestions, but the switches need to be accessible and not "permanently" disabled or locked.

So, I went to home depot and bought 3 el cheapo outdoor covers with little lock tabs on them. Took about 2 hours to install after installing mud rings to accommodate the mounting style of the outdoor boxes. Walla! Uh Oh! I had my 2 neighbors over (one of them is 4 yrs old), and after telling him not to touch them, I watched him pull on the cover, snapping the thing right off! Also broke my Christmas Story leg lamp when his arm hit it I'm a pretty cool guy, and don't care about small things like this, but I just don't want the kids constantly playing with the electrical equipment and shorting something out.

SO! I was at a yard sale yesterday that this old lady was running, who's husband has passed away 1 year ago, and was cleaning out the garage. And what do I see sitting on the ground under a table. A load center, brand new in box, with a locking cover! I asked how much she wanted, and she said $5. She wasn't even sure what it was It looks exactly like this one except has a locking cover with a heavy metal tab. I figured I would give it a try. I'm going to head to home depot for some breakers, a separate grounding bar, and install it tomorrow morning. When I was at the store, I asked an electrical contractor about ground rods for the panel, and he said since its still under a single 20 amp circuit feeding the shed, it is not needed, and to just ground it like any other piece of equipment in the circuit, with separated neutral and ground. This make me happy, and was one of the main reasons I only ran a single circuit to the shed. When the house was built, they buried layers of old cracked concrete and stone underneath 2-3 ft where the shed now sits. So driving 2 ground rods would be impossible. When I rewire, I am also going to put the outlets on separate banks of switches so any that I don't use, can be turned off! Double safety from da children! Even with the tamper resistant and GFCI outlets! :P

So I now have a giant locking light switch box! And if the kids break this, then the shed gets locked up from everyone!

Homeline 125 Amp 8-Space 16-Circuit Indoor Main Lugs Load Center with Cover-HOM816L125C at The Home Depot
 
  #7  
Old 02-19-13, 01:33 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Sounds like a plan! Thanks for the update.

For future reference, keyed switches can be purchased over-the-counter at every electrical supply house I've ever been in. The reason they're hard to find online is that they're almost always sold "to the trade," and we don't shop for our supplies there.
 
  #8  
Old 02-19-13, 06:49 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,064
I had my 2 neighbors over (one of them is 4 yrs old), and after telling him not to touch them, I watched him pull on the cover, snapping the thing right off!
Next time you see them coming over, you may want to frisk them to be sure one isn't carrying bolt cutters or a pry bar. I hear you can get into most panels with an appropriately sized ax too
 
  #9  
Old 02-20-13, 07:17 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 19
Thanks all for the help!

Yes, these kids are trouble! I mounting the panel up to 5 feet so the little ones can't touch it!
 
  #10  
Old 02-20-13, 08:38 AM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Right. Until they find something to pull over and climb on.
 
  #11  
Old 02-20-13, 11:57 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 19
Your gonna make me go crazy now trying to child proof the place.......
 
  #12  
Old 02-20-13, 04:40 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
An impossible quest, of course. The closed load center may be less attractive than a bank of switches. For some reason, kids just have to mess with switches, it seems.

If you ignore the load center the odds are that they will too. If you feel compelled to point it out and tell them to leave it alone, all bets are off.

My wife once baked, assembled and frosted a cake to take to some do. She then set it on top of some other stuff on top of the refrigerator. (My wife is shorter than I am. She's only 5' 12" tall.) Then, as an added precaution, she told her younger son what it was for and to leave it alone.

You know what happened as soon as she left, I'm sure.
 
  #13  
Old 02-20-13, 06:16 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,221
Thanks all for the help!

Yes, these kids are trouble! I mounting the panel up to 5 feet so the little ones can't touch it!
You can order an accessory lock for most loadcenters, they aren't expensive.
 
  #14  
Old 02-20-13, 06:19 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,221
(My wife is shorter than I am. She's only 5' 12" tall.)
Wouldn't that make your wife 6 foot tall?
 
  #15  
Old 02-20-13, 09:45 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
She prefers to say it that way.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'